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Prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Its Correlates Among Junior High School Students at 53 Months After Experiencing an Earthquake

  • Qiaolan Liu (a1), Min Jiang (a2), Yang Yang (a1), Huan Zhou (a1), Yanyang Zhou (a3), Min Yang (a3) (a4), Huanyu Xu (a1) and Yuanyi Ji (a1)...



To identify the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its determinants among adolescents more than 4 years after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.


Adolescents (1,125 total) from 2 junior high schools in areas affected by the catastrophic earthquake were followed up for 3 years. The self-rating PTSD scale based on the Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) and the Chinese Classification and Diagnostic Criteria of Mental Disorders, 2nd Edition, Revised (CCMD-2-R) was collected at 53 months, and determinant data were collected repeatedly. Logistic regression was used for a determinants analysis.


The prevalence of overall PTSD was 23.4% among the sample. The risk factors for PTSD were older age (OR=1.52, 95% CI: 1.20~1.92), and death or injury of a family member in the earthquake (OR=1.61, 95% CI: 1.09~2.37). Adolescents who had moderate-to-severe common mental health problems were more likely to have PTSD symptoms, with ORs from 3.98 to 17.67 (All P<0.05). Self-esteem remained a protective factor for PTSD regardless of age, whereas positive coping was a protective factor for PTSD when adolescents were older.


PTSD symptoms among adolescent survivors of a catastrophic earthquake seemed to persist over time. Long-term interventions are needed to alleviate PTSD symptoms among adolescent survivors. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:414-418)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Min Yang, Department of Health Policy and Management, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, P. R. China 610041 (e-mail:


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